For all Types of set except the 3-Couple repeat in 4-couple, Longwise set, the Progression leaves every Dancer in the correct Position at the end of each Repeat. Almost all dances start with the Dancers Facing In, or sometimes in a Circular set Facing Partner, and so, since most Figures Finish in the same way, there is little risk of problem over the transition.
Occasionally, there is an opportunity to improve the Flow of the dance at the end of the Repeat as, for example, in MacDonald of the Isles where the 3rd Couple can Phrase their arrival at 2nd Place so that they flow smoothly into their new role as 2nd Couple in the new Repeat. Some dances have Cast as the first Figure of the Repeat for Dancers who were Dancing Out to Places at the end of the previous Repeat as, for example, for the Dancing couple at the end of their first Repeat in Peat Fire Flame; as with Cross and cast (see Flow between figures), these movements can be combined into a smooth combination, elegantly linking the successive Repeats. Others have Hands across as the first Figure of the Repeat for Dancers who were Turning Partners to Places at the end of the previous Repeat as, for example, for the Top and Bottom Couples in Osgood MacKenzie of Inverewe; by retaining the Hold with Partners after the Turn, the Dancers can make a satisfyingly smooth transition to the new Repeat. In The Weathercock, all Turn Partners to Places at the end of the Repeat and this is followed by Reels of four on the Sides at the beginning of the next Repeat; this combination of Figures is particularly favourable.
Although it is only the 3-Couple repeat in 4-couple, Longwise set type which can present the problem of some Dancers being left in the wrong Place at the end of a Repeat, and even then only for the 2nd, 4th and 6th Repeats, this is important because this Type of set is by far the most common in the Scottish Country Dancing répertoire; about 45% of all dances are of this format.
Problems with the 3-Couple Repeat in a 4-couple Set
The term, Drop, is used to gloss over a multitude of sins in the Progression at the end of the even-numbered Repeats (except the last) in the Longwise set format with an Active set of 3 Couples in a Full set of 4 Couples (see 3 Couple repeat in 4 couple set under The set in Types of sets). The 1st Couple have to Exchange places with the Couple Below them in order to reach 4th Place of the Full set and so, more importantly, to allow that Couple to be in the correct Place for the new Repeat. In the older dances, only 1st Couple were dancing the Figure at the beginning of each Repeat and so the former 1st Couple and the 3rd Couple could use any casual shuffling movement to get to the correct Places in the first few bars of the new Repeat. More elegantly, these Couples can effect the changeover quite simply by 3rd Couple Stepping up on the first two bars of the new Repeat While the former 1st Couple either Cast or Dance Down to 4th place.
No Time is allocated for Drop and no single Figure is appropriate; a good Scottish Country Dancing teacher will recognize any problem and advise the best modification. In many dances such as The Montgomeries' Rant, 1st Couple Finish in 2nd Place on Opposite sides at the end of bar 30 with 2 bars available to Cross to Own sides; this can readily be converted to Cross down to Own sides While 3rd Couple Step up and so make a neat Drop. In others, such as Cramond Bridge and Shiftin' Bobbins, 1st Couple Cast on Own sides at or near the end of the Repeat; by Casting 2 Places While 3rd Couple Step up, the Drop can be incorporated neatly into the evenly-numbered Repeats.
Dance devisers normally do not give explicit instructions even when a dance has 3rd Couple of the Active set involved (either directly or as Standing Dancers around whom others Dance) on bar 1 of the Repeat, thus making the dance potentially very untidy at this point. For example, in The Duchess Tree, the final Figure for the 1st and 2nd Couples is an Allemande with the 3rd Couple of the Active set Standing in 4th place of the Full set; the neatest modification is for the 1st Couple to change the last two bars of the Allemande so that, instead of Dancing back into the Side lines, 1st Couple Take Nearer hands and Lead down to the 4th place of the Full set While the 3rd Couple of the Active set (who were Standing in the 4th place of the Full set) Step up to the 3rd place of the Full set, ready to start the new Repeat in which they have to Cast up on bar 1. In Muirland Willie, the final Figure is a Poussette which can be modified elegantly in a similar way (see the alternative form of Poussette for three couples though some favour the more athletic original).
Other popular dances which require adjustment toward the end of the even-numbered Repeats so that 3rd Couple are ready for bar 1 of the next Repeat are:
Jennifer's Jig in which 1st Couple must hold back to Finish in 4th Place While Leading up on bars 30-32 so that 3rd Couple can Step up immediately behind 2nd Couple;
The Kenora Reel in which 1st Couple must Cast on bars 30-32 to Finish in 4th Place While 3rd Couple Lead up (Nearer hands joined) ready for the Mirror reels of three; and
Mrs MacPherson of Inveran in which 1st Couple must release Hold in the Hands round and back early and Cast to Finish in 4th Place so that 3rd Couple can Lead up (Nearer hands joined) ready for the Inveran reels.